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Fast Tech

Sometimes I think it is nearly impossible to keep up with technology. Does that mean I am getting old? Is it time to give up? Accept my old age limitations? Should I start poo pooing anything new? Everything new is just unnecessarily complex. Give me the good old days.

I like ICE. The Internal Combustion Engine. Gasoline more than diesel. I don’t know why but I cannot get excited about electric cars. The hybrid, mixing ICE with electric; that is one complex machine. Unnecessarily complex in my neanderthal mindset.

The ICEs coming through my door are challenging enough. There are very few hybrids gracing our doors. I have not even serviced an electric car yet. Are they that reliable? Do electric car owners perform their own maintenance? Do they go back to the dealer for service? For most that would require an overnight stay. Maybe the electric car guys have the diagnostic machine I have been dreaming about. They plug into their laptop and get fixed over the internet. Oh yeah, I have only seen two of them plying our streets.

The ICE is not dead yet. Emission standards are tightening and fuel economy averages are lowering. The ICE is feeling pressure.

Current ICE technology is smaller turbocharged or supercharged engines with emphasis on friction reduction, low speed torque increases and better thermal management. Your typical F-150 pickup had a 5.4 litre V8 engine. It is now a 3.5 litre turbocharged unit.

In another ten years the common ICE will be even smaller and combine both supercharging and turbocharging. The engine will run with a lean mixture. The combustion of air and fuel will happen at a lower temperature. Fuels will contain less carbon. Your F-150 will have a 3.0 litre supercharged/turbocharged powerplant.

Look out another twenty five years. Your ICE will likely be packaged as a hybrid. You will probably plug it in at night. The fuel we put in our cars will be significantly different. I am not sure what will be under the hood of your F-150. I probably won’t be looking under a lot of hoods by then.

As time flies by and the technology with it I sometimes wonder if I will get the chance to fix any of it. Yes, cars are more complex. With increased complexity we are experiencing increased reliability. Some technologies will simply pass us by not requiring any attention of sorts.

Open a service manual on your computer and many times there will be no information whatsoever on how a system works. I guess you don’t need to know how it works if it is not going to break. What if it does?

What about the diagnostic process for that new turbocharger system? I plug in my laptop start diagnostics and watch. Push the return button now and again. Turn the key on, off, start, stop.

Replace the charge air temperature sensor located over there. But why? Just because!

Bring me back a trouble tree and a description of operation. I know I can fix more cars that way and learn more doing it.

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